A public hearing at the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison on Dec. 3, 2018.(Photo: John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)CONNECT>TWEET>LINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE
Elections, it is often said, have consequences.
The strong showing of Democrats in 2006 and 2008 paved the way for passage of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The election of Donald Trump in 2016 meant, among other things, the elevation of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
But a month after the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans in a number of states are doing their damnedest to limit, even reverse, the verdict rendered by voters.
Ground zero in this effort is Wisconsin, where voters registered an unequivocal desire for change after eight years of unified Republican rule. They ousted GOP Gov. Scott Walker in favor of a previously little-known Democrat. They chose Democrats for every other statewide office and, in the aggregate, gave a whopping eight-point margin to Democratic candidates for the State Assembly.
WISCONSIN LEGISLATURE SPEAKER: Skip the outrage. We’re doing our job.
How has the Republican-controlled legislature responded? By ramming through limits on early voting and restrictions on the powers of these newly elected Democrats. A not-so-chastened Walker has signaled that he will sign these measures.
If enacted, they would restrict the ways newly elected officials could craft rules and regulations implementing public laws. Most galling, the officials would be prohibited, at least in theory, from withdrawing the state from a Republican lawsuit against Obamacare. Both the incoming governor and incoming attorney general were elected on platforms that included withdrawing from that suit.
In neighboring Michigan, meanwhile, lawmakers are considering measures that would strip newly elected Democratic officials of powers to litigate on the state’s behalf and enforce campaign-finance laws.
Both states are following in the footsteps of North Carolina, where a lame-duck Republican legislature pushed through restrictions on Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper after he was elected in 2016.
These blatant power grabs show a palpable contempt for voters. For decades, even as the political debate has grown more caustic, lawmakers of both parties have shown an admirable reverence for popular sovereignty, democratic elections and graceful transitions of power. Now, that is very much in doubt.
Lame-duck sessions should be used to tie up loose ends or enact legislation with broad bipartisan support, not to ram through partisan measures that do not reflect the will of the voters.
Making matters worse, the majorities in Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina, as well as numerous other states, are built on grotesque gerrymandering inflicted like a cancer on the body politic after the 2010 election.
In Wisconsin, for instance, the Republican majority that swept into office in 2010 drew the legislative and congressional boundaries for the next 10 years. (Democrats in Maryland used similar tactics to redraw districts there in their favor.) The lines in Wisconsin made it practically impossible for Republicans to lose their majorities, enabling the unfortunate actions we are seeing today.
It’s hard to see how these public servants can even look themselves in the mirror — or imagine how they would feel if the tables were turned. There's a familiar term for how they are acting: sore losers.
USA TODAY's editorial opinions are decided by its Editorial Board, separate from the news staff. Most editorials are coupled with an opposing view — a unique USA TODAY feature.
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Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/12/06/lame-duck-republican-power-grabs-show-contempt-voters-editorials-debates/2230623002/